I remember the start of winter. When it was crisp and cold and refreshing, when the air crackled with lively possibility, and when I was excited for the change in wardrobe. Now, four months in, the weather's just biting, the streets are filled with gross grey slush, and the only crackle in the air is static electricity. Man I am so tired of winter.
Since it may still be here for a while, though, let's hearken back a little bit to the beginning of the season, if for no other reason, than to get a refresher on what's good about winter. Namely, silk shirts and fur hats.**
Between the wool sailor trousers, the silk tie-front blouse, and the mink hat, this outfit is a combination of a lot of my favorite pieces that can really only be worn in colder months. What I adore about the season is the possibilities for fabric and texture, which feel so much richer than in summer, when cotton is pretty much de rigeur. It's also the perfect time to sport my favorite color palettes which, you may have noticed, are a little bit more, um, non-color palettes, as I tend to opt for muted tones. I think I just find they suit my coloring a little better, and allow me to play with warmth, texture and silhouette without being overwhelming. Of course, many, many other vintage fashionistas carry off beautifully bright colors in great, classic silhouettes with some serious panache--maybe it's a personality thing?
The hat actually dates from the 1960s, but I prefer to style it a little more 1940s by tilting it back, rather than wearing it more squarely on top of the head. I'm also happy for any opportunity I can find to wear this bolero, which I bought years ago thinking it was incredibly versatile, only to find that actually, thanks to its wool makeup, pleating, and lower-waist length, is fairly difficult to wear. With anything but a very defined waist, it tends to blot out the figure, and even though I like the outfit I put together, I think I didn't altogether escape that effect here either. No matter; it's warm and fun to wear, and really, that's all anyone wants from an outfit in winter.
Hopefully as the season continues, I'll re-energize a little and take advantage of the temperature's silver linings. I really dig winter for the fabrics and textures it requires--and I'm sure I'll miss it somewhere around July--but man. It can go ahead and leave now.
**Because every vintage blogger must, at some point, address the Fur Question:
Fur is always going to be a tricky topic in the vintage world, and believe me, as a vegetarian, I get it. It's a cruel industry, and I don't really understand its modern continuation as long as there's vintage fur in the market. I have mixed feelings about my own use of fur--I realize that although I believe it to a certain extent, the argument that at least with repeated use, the animals "won't have died in vain" is a little creaky. But I do think that, because the animals died before my mother, and in some cases grandmother, was born, it is at least responsible fur use. I also bristle a little when non-vegetarians hitch up their pants about wearing fur; I don't think you can condone daily, non-renewable slaughter and consumption of animals and also condemn repeated use of long-dead ones. Just my two cents.
All photographs courtesy of Spencer J Eggers